August 22, 2016 – The GOES-R weather satellite met another major milestone today as it flew from Littleton, Colorado to Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Shipping the satellite was no small feat — GOES-R is over 18 feet wide and weighs over 6,000 lb. In preparation for the journey, engineers at Lockheed Martin Space Systems stored the satellite in a special shipping container that was then loaded onto a truck. The entire semi-truck was then loaded onto a massive C-5 airplane to make the journey across the country.
“This milestone is a great achievement for the entire GOES-R team, who have worked tirelessly to get the spacecraft to Florida,” said Greg Mandt, NOAA’s GOES-R system program director. “Moving forward, we are focused on preparing this highly advanced weather satellite for its historic launch in just a few short months.”
In Florida, the satellite was moved to Astrotech Space Operations, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin. Tomorrow, technicians will unwrap the satellite in Astrotech’s clean room to begin spacecraft processing in preparation for launch.
GOES-R is scheduled to launch November 4 at 3:40 p.m. MDT aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
GOES-R will be the first satellite in a series of next generation geostationary satellites. These satellites will provide significant enhancements for weather forecasters at the National Weather Service. GOES-R will have the capability to monitor multiple weather events and provide real-time weather forecast information to the NOAA’s National Weather Service. Improved instrument technology on GOES-R includes more visible and infrared channels, four times the imaging resolution, and a brand new lightning detection capability.
GOES-R is being developed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colorado. In addition to the spacecraft, Lockheed Martin was chosen by NASA to design the Magnetometer, the Geostationary Lightning Mapper, and the new Solar Ultra-Violet Imager.
Since 1975, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) have provided continuous imagery and data on atmospheric conditions and solar activity. They have even aided in search and rescue of people in distress. GOES data products have led to more accurate and timely weather forecasts and better understanding of long-term climate conditions. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) builds and launches the GOES, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operates them.